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Taking the stage

Polk County's summer entertainment schedule is full of events to keep you out and occupied.

July 09, 2013

POLK COUNTY -- From old-time country to zydeco, blues to rock `n' roll, summer concerts in the region have something for every kind of music lover.

And the best part of it all? The concerts are free.

Monmouth, Dallas and Independence all are kicking off their outdoor concert series this week, starting Wednesday night with Monmouth's Music in the Park featuring the Ben Rice Band.

Monmouth's series runs every Wednesday through Aug. 28 downtown in Main Street Park. It will feature familiar regional acts like reggae band Everyday Prophets and folk-rock act The Builders and the Butchers. Newcomers Sons of Malarkey (Celtic-rock) and The New Iberians (zydeco) will add a distinctive flair to this year's lineup, which could easily be described as eclectic.

Want a taste of something new with a Cajun flair? Come on down July 31 for the New Iberians show.

"It's a new band for us," said Mark Fancey, Monmouth's community development director who coordinates the series. "Zydeco is a real exciting kind of music ... Louisiana-based, Cajun-based music. It's an awful lot of fun."

If it's Thursday night, that means there's a Sounds of Summer concert happening at Dallas' Rotary Performing Arts Stage at the corner of Main and Academy streets.

Now in its 16th season, the series will bring its usual combination of live music and family-friendly fun.

The shows run eight consecutive weeks starting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with local country/rock favorite Joe Shinkle and 99 West.

Sounds of Summer acts also offer varying styles, including singer-song writer Matthew Price, western swing and old-time country act The Oregon Valley Boys, and classic rock `n' roll cover band JT and the Tourists.

If you are looking for a Frank Sinatra-like crooner, complete with the suit and tie, come check out Johnny Martin on July 18.

"He really does the whole lounge singer thing," said John Swanson, Sounds of Summer coordinator for the city of Dallas. "He's a fantastic performer, classic lounge singer."

And be prepared to head out early for the season's finale act, Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts, on Aug. 28. It's not unheard of to see place-holding lawn chairs out the morning of the closing show.

After a late start, the second season of Independence's River's Edge Summer Series now has a full schedule of acts playing every Friday through Aug. 30.

River's Edge coordinator Alex Trevino booked the final show last week for the series that begins Friday with a nod to 1980s "hair bands" with Bon Jovi tribute group Steelhorse.

"They are high-energy and fun," Trevino said. "We should have the amphitheater rocking."

Guy Nitro and the Pumps (classic blues rock) on July 19, Strange Tones (blues) on Aug. 2 and Franco Palleta and the Stinger (blues) on Aug. 23 were recently booked offering a bluesy feel to the series that also features a mix of 1980s rock and country.

"I try to bring in bands that people haven't seen," Trevino said, adding he is hoping for plenty of "audience participation" -- dancing and singing along. "People having a good time ... that's what I like to see."

All shows start at 7:30 p.m. at Independence's Riverview Park and Amphitheater. River's Edge has added another feature for the 2013 season: Along with the beer and wine garden, this season Oregon-based distilleries will be offering tastings during the concerts.

MONMOUTH MUSIC IN THE PARK SERIES

Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m.

Main Street Park

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July 10 -- Ben Rice Band (blues)

July 17 -- Everyday Prophets (reggae)

July 24 -- Midnight Serenaders (1920s swing jazz)

July 31 -- New Iberians (zydeco)

Aug. 7 -- The Builders and the Butchers (alternative folk-rock)

Aug. 14 -- Sons of Malarkey (Celtic folk-rock)

Aug. 21 -- Jacob Merlin Band (funk and soul)

Aug. 28 -- The Boomers (classic rock)

DALLAS SOUNDS OF SUMMER

Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.

Rotary Performing Arts Stage

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July 11 -- Joe Shinkle and 99 West (country western)

July 18 -- Johnny Martin (classic American crooner)

July 25 -- JT and the Tourists (rock `n' roll favorites)

Aug. 1 -- The Oregon Valley Boys (western swing and old-time country)

Aug. 8 -- Matthew Price Band (singer-songwriter)

Aug. 15 -- Gil Reynolds Band, with special guest Ben Rice (electric rhythm and blues)

Aug. 22 -- Graber, Souter and Rupp (western gospel)

Aug. 29 -- Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts (rock `n' roll)

RIVER'S EDGE SUMMER SERIES

Independence Riverview Park and Amphitheater

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CONCERTS

Fridays, 7:30 p.m.

July 12 -- Steelhorse (Bon Jovi tribute band)

July 19 -- Guy Nitro and the Pumps (classic blues rock)

July 26 -- Ted Vaughn Blues Band (blues, rock)

Aug. 2 -- Strange Tones (blues)

Aug. 9 -- Michelle Murray (country rock)

Aug. 16 -- The Police Experience (Police tribute band)

Aug. 23 -- Franco Palleta and the Stingers (blues)

Aug. 30 -- Fiesta Mexicana

MOVIES

Thursdays, dusk

July 11 -- "Madagascar 3"

July 18 -- "Goonies"

July 25 -- "Wreck-It Ralph"

Aug. 1 -- "School of Rock"

Aug. 8 -- "Fast Five"

Aug. 15 -- "Avengers"

Aug. 22 -- "Shark Tale"

Aug. 29 -- "Ironman 2"

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